Jena: Co-Founder & President
Jena's passion for animals began in her infancy, having been born into a family who always, always had pets of all types. Her very first best friend was her mixed-breed dog, Tasha, who grew up with her -- they were just a few months apart in age! She always found solace in being around animals and never met an animal she didn't like.
She eventually became vegetarian in her teen years, then vegan, as an adult, as she learned more about the plight of animals traditionally used for food. She always felt that her life's purpose was to start an animal rescue, although she believed it would be for dogs or horses. But after her first visit to Farm Sanctuary, she knew that her calling was to help farm animals.
Jena has experience working as a pet-sitter and in an emergency veterinary hospital. Currently, her "day job" is as a Program Assistant at a NJ University and her sanctuary work includes everything from daily, hands-on animal care to more "behind the scenes type" type of tasks like managing email, running the website and social media accounts, fundraising and grant writing.
Jena and Anthony have been together since 2004 and married since 2010. Aside from the many sanctuary residents they share their lives with, they keep two dogs, four cats and three rats as companion animals. Together, they're committed to making Ahimsa Acres Sanctuary a welcoming and healing place for both animals and humans.
Anthony: Co-Founder & Vice-President
It was never Anthony's dream to run a farm animal sanctuary, but it became one after he and Jena shared several enlightening trips to east-coast farm animal sanctuaries and he encountered farm animals on a more intimate level.
Anthony works in nuclear security, however, his true passion (aside from the animals, of course!) is in woodworking. He takes great pride in his many repair and improvement projects around the sanctuary (trust us -- there are a lot!) and aims to make Ahimsa Acres the safest, most enriching place for the animals as possible.
As a formerly self-proclaimed "carnivore," Anthony has aligned his lifestyle with his beliefs by embracing veganism. "If I can do it, anyone can!" he always says. He enjoys NASCAR and is (slightly) obsessed with the Rocky series... hence the names for most of our pig residents!
Dawn: Culinary Director
Dawn has over 35 years of experience working in non-profits to benefit the community -- from entry level case manager to executive director. Her current position is with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern NJ where she has worked for over 18 years in their Impact Department. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Camden & Gloucester Counties.
Dawn has always loved animals and has had pets all her life. Caring for animals is something she inherited from her mother, Joan, who she believes would be right here beside her helping Ahimsa Acres in any way possible. Dawn began volunteering at a young age starting -- with her days as a Girl Scout to most recently with Furrever Friends Rescue & Volunteers and now with Ahimsa Acres Sanctuary. Working with Ahimsa Acres has provided Dawn with the opportunity to not only advocate for voiceless animals but work in another area she is passionate about: living a vegan lifestyle. Dawn is currently working to open a vegan café in the southern NJ area.
Dawn resides in Sewell, NJ with her husband Aaron and their rescued kitty, Axle. Dawn has served on the Ahimsa Acres Sanctuary Board of Directors since May, 2016 and currently serves as the organization’s Culinary Director. She looks forward to assisting with teaching others how they can eat and live a vegan lifestyle!
Growing up in a ‘cat’ family where just about everyone had a cat or two, Jim has always had pets. Most were rescues -- from cats taken from shelters, found in parking lots, and left roadside in a cardboard box, to a parrot anonymously left in his apartment after a party. (He stayed over 13 years!) He’s had dogs, too, and even a rabbit.
Jim is a retired logistics manager with the Department of the Navy and has extensive financial management experience. In 2007, he and his wife, Regina, started their own non-profit, Support The Troops NJ. To date, they have shipped more than 1,900 packages weighing over 20,000 pounds to our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Jim has been volunteering as treasurer for local organizations for more than 15 years and also served 6 years as Chairman of the Pittsgrove Township Economic Development Committee.
Bio coming soon!